Caring For The Land
Caring for the land,
With chainsaws and hand,
as the tree slams.
This was a special day. My good buddy Jackson invited me out to ‘care for the land’ at his bosses house. It was going to be a beautiful day, and I didn’t have any plans so I figured spending some time working outdoors in the mountains wouldn’t be a bad way to spend my day.
We met early in the morning and drove up into the foothills near Boulder, CO. We stopped at a local gas station where we met Jackson’s friend Jim. I loaded up on 3 bags of BBQ sunflower seeds – which I haven’t been able to find since I moved out to Colorado – and we went on our way. The drive up was beautiful and it didn’t take long for me to be reminded of the magic in the mountains; providing me with reassurance of why I love them so much. When we arrived at our destination we hopped out of the car and got the trailer into position.
What made this day significant was the purpose behind the job. Jackson was preparing for a ‘vision quest’ down in southern Colorado. From my understanding, a vision quest is a ceremonious rite of passage practiced in some Native American cultures. It is a powerful experience that has been practiced for thousands of years, and it still holds great value today. Since I have never participated in this, and I don’t know a heck of a lot about it, I will leave the explaining to someone who knows it better. Jackson chose to not participate in it this time around, but still wanted to be involved for his community. So he and his buddy Jim took up the vital role of tending to the fire during the ceremony. From what Jackson has told me about it, the fire holds a major significance in the whole process.
What was cool about the day was that Jackson’s boss Bill had a bunch of land that needed tending to. As the summer is approaching, he was beginning to worry that all of the trees in his backyard were going to be hazardous if a fire ever came through. He had been slowly tending to his land over the past few months, but it’s really hard work clearing trees out of your yard, and it takes a long time if you are on your own. So, it was mutually beneficial for both parties to take on this day of work. For Jackson and Jim, the wood that was to be gathered would be put to perfect use during the vision quest. For Bill, we were helping him big time by caring for his land, cutting up the dead trees, and taking them for him. And for me… I was just happy to be with my good pal, working hard for a good cause and soaking in the beautiful scenery of the mountains.
We got right to work. I set up my recorder on top of the hill in the copse behind Bill’s house, and pressed record. Here’s what it sounded like…
RANDOM THOUGHT: After that day I found a whole new respect for trees. The amount of work it takes to take a tree down reminds me of the great strength that they hold. Each ring inside the trunk representing another year of life. Each year of life making the tree stronger and stronger, rooting it deeper into the earth. Nearly impossible to uproot, we are forced to chop it down with a chainsaw. The sweet smell of pine and sap and wood blending together as we worked made for a pleasant aroma. The rough texture of the bark on my arms as I carried the stumps down towards the trailer reminded me of the durability of the tree. Each species of wood varying in scent, density, weight and feel.
After working I went to hang by the creek in Boulder and sat underneath the trees by the river. I looked up with great reverence at the bold and magical trees towering over me. They’ve been here so much longer than I. They’ve seen so much. They must be wise.